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Interview with Brewster Kahle Regarding WAIS

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Interview with Brewster Kahle Regarding WAIS


Published November 28, 1992


Interview with Brewster Kahle (aged 33) conducted by Dave Marvit, in Cambridge Massachusetts, November 28, 1992. Interview held at the newly-created WAIS Incorporated, "three blocks from Harvard Square". Runtime is roughly 2 hours.

Topics covered include:
  • History of WAIS
  • Definition of Wide Area Information Server (WAIS) Technology
  • Early experiments of WAIS-like services; what went right and wrong
  • Working at Thinking Machines Corporation
  • Devising Search Algorithms
  • Early advancements in search (and the roots of search)
  • Relevance feedback
  • The excitement and personal aspects of search
  • Deep overview of the functionality and system of WAIS
  • The issues and technical considerations of transmitting video via network
  • The model of providing services for free to attract users
  • Effects and use of Internet in Politics and Privacy Issues
  • The Markets that Thinking Machines tried to create and open
  • Brewster's Goals with WAIS ("The Wise Man on the Hill")
  • Concerns about proprietary protocols versus open
  • Early interactions with Perot Systems and the Ross Perot Presidential Campaign
  • WAIS, Inc. Corporate and Company Structure
  • WAIS, Inc. Personnel and Positions
  • WAIS, Inc. Philosophy
  • Thoughts on the Electronic Publishing Revolution
  • Effects of Electronic Publishing on Traditional Publishing
  • Thoughts on business models and transfer mechanisms in publishing
  • Thoughts on computers and computing technology in the home and home publishing
  • The role of advertising in electronic publishing
  • Concerns with working with government institutions
  • Considering the issues of Privacy in an electronic age
  • The future of WAIS, Inc. (Growing, Earning, Business Model)

Some numbers mentioned in the interview:
  • A "large" government database that was 15 gigabytes, with estimates of searching this database from 24 hours down the Thinking Machines' 3 minutes.
  • Dow Jones' Database is 77gb at this time.
  • Dialog's Database is "close to a terabyte".
  • The top-end network connection mentioned is a T3, 42 mbits/sec.
  • 56kbits/sec (ISDN) is an "acceptable" connection for interacting with WAIS.
  • WAIS, Inc. has 3 full-time employees at the time of the interview.


Run time 2:05:00
Producer Dave Marvit
Audio/Visual sound, color

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Reviews

Reviewer: brewster - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 13, 2015
Subject: Thank you Jason Scott for improving the metadata for this

I appreciate Jason Scott's working on the description for this. I had completely forgotten about this.

-brewster
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